I always have the overwhelming feeling that I forgot to pack something very important. Truth be told, apart from travel documents, phone, and money everything else can be replaced, so I really have no reason to stress unless… I am packing for a multiday hike.
This is way different because If I forget something, for example, a rain jacket, not only it can make my life miserable, but it might also mean I will have to end the trip early.
What items should you include on your hut-to-hut packing list?
Having hiked many multiday trails in the Italian Dolomites I have developed my own foolproof packing list for hut-to-hut hikes. Whether your trip is 3 or 30 days long this list will ensure that you do not overpack or forget anything important.
When you go through this list you might think you will need at least a 65-liter rucksack to fit everything in, but nothing further from the truth!
I had no trouble packing all my camera equipment and the rest of the items on this list into a 36-liter backpack with room to spare. Using a bigger backpack gives the temptation to pack a lot more ‘just in case’ items.
Remember the lighter you go the happier you will be! If I didn’t have my camera equipment, I would have gone with a 25-30 liter backpack.
My go-to brand for backpacks is Osprey. I particularly love their harness system. If adjusted correctly to your body and in the right size, the backpack hugs the back really nicely, stays in one place and the whole weight sits on your hips, exactly where it should!
Hut-to-hut Packing List Group 1: Clothes
Clothes are usually the number 1 thing we all tend to overpack on hut-to-hut treks. Hiking clothes are lightweight, but the weight adds up quickly. Remember if you have to carry everything on your back, every gram counts.
You only need two sets of clothes on your hut-to-hut packing list: one to wear during the day on the hike and the second one to wear around the hut.
The clothes should be multifunctional and made of lightweight and quick-drying materials. I am also a big believer in investing in good quality gear which lasts for years.
Every piece of clothing I recommend below is one that I use myself. I hike a few hundred kilometers of trails every summer and autumn and put my gear under tremendous strain yet it never fails me.
Hanwag Alverstone boots
Hanwag boots carried me across the Dolomites for hundreds of kilometers until I wore the sole off. My own fault, because you can actually resole them! They are very well made, comfy, and look nice! Just invest in a comfy insole.
Sea-To-Summit Compression Sack
Store all your clothes in a stuff sack to save space and have easy access to them, when stored in your backpack. I recommend either the 8-liter or the 13-liter version.
Shop on Amazon
Hut-to-hut Packing List Group 2: Toiletries
Remember to carry small travel-sized bottles. No need to take a whole tube of toothpaste or face cream. The idea is to fit all your toiletries, which are on your packing list, into a small bag.
- Toiletry Bag – a small cosmetic pouch that will fit everything that you need for your hut-to-hut trip! Leave your make-up at home.
- Sunscreen – 50 ml (at least 30 SPF, ideally SPF 50). The sun in the mountains is fierce. Don’t risk sunburn and apply that sunscreen!
- Face cream – because you aren’t getting any younger!
- Sea to Summit Trek & Travel Pocket Soaps– I know some of us like to have 20 different bottles for each body part but in this case, these environmentally friendly and lightweight dry pocket soaps will do the trick!
- Sea to Summit Biodegradable Wilderness Wash– take that stink out of your clothes and wash them at the hut in the afternoon
- Toothbrush – I hope I don’t need to explain why you need a toothbrush
- Toothpaste 10 ml – same as above
- Hairbrush – optional. I sometimes pack it and other times I don’t. I don’t brush my hair very often, so a few days without it is totally fine for me. I just comb my hair with my fingers.
- Hair bobbles – If you like to keep your hair out of the way
- Deodorant (50ml) – to keep the stink at bay
- Small shaver (optional) – If I go for a week or longer, I do pack it with me, but it’s totally optional
- Cream for cuts and blisters – Have you heard of the PAWPAW cream? It was recommended to me on my travels in Australia. It has many purposes, including lip moisturizer! You will never buy any other product again after trying this one, I promise! It’s a lifesaver.
- Ortovox mini first aid kit – if there is more than one person in your party then just carry one between you.
- Painkillers – if your trekking partner gives you headaches because of all their whining
- Immodium – if the food at the hut causes some digestion problems
- Any other medicine you might be taking on a regular basis
- Paper tissues and/or wet wipes – are a staple for any backpacker on a hut-to-hut trek. Just don’t throw them away into the bush. I hate the sight of toilet paper flying around in the most pristine areas!
Hut-to-hut Packing List Group 3: Snacks
- Rehydration tablets – replace those electrolytes. Adding them to your water will quench your thirst a lot better and speed up your recovery.
- Nuts – avoid salted nuts, I always go with walnuts, almonds, or cashews.
- Date and nut bars or protein bars – go as natural as possible, avoid muesli bars full of added sugar.
Hut-to-hut Packing List Group 4: Hiking Gear
Luckily there isn’t much hiking gear you need to put on your packing list for a hut-to-hut trek in the Dolomites.
There is no necessity of carrying a tent, sleeping bag, or cooking set because not only do the huts offer a comfortable night’s sleep in a real bed, but also have restaurants on-site! That’s the reason lightweight hiking is possible in the Dolomites!
There are however still a few things you need to pack all enlisted below.
To know where you are going
Hut-to-hut Packing List Group 5: Personal Items
- ID or Passport – it’s smart to carry one with you in case something happens
- Credit/debit card – so you can go crazy at the hut bar!
- Cash – many huts still don’t accept cards, so cash is necessary. Spread it around in different pockets.
- Alpine club membership – if you have one, bring it! It can save you quite a bit of money. I talk about it in my post about the ins and outs of staying in mountain huts in the Italian Dolomites.
Hut-to-hut Packing List Group 6: Via Ferrata Equipment (trail depending)
Some of the multiday hikes in the Italian Dolomites have via ferrata incorporated into them. Examples are Alta Via 2, Alta Via 4, Rosengarten Traverse, and the Dolomiti Brenta Circuit. To undertake them you will need to put a dedicated via ferrata equipment onto your hut-to-hut packing list.
Black Diamond Helmet
Rockfall is a major concern on via ferrata routes. Unbeknownst to you, other climbing groups above you may accidentally dislodge a small rock and send it hurtling down the mountain. If it hits you on the head it could have serious consequences. A helmet placed on your head (not inside your backpack) is a must!
Black Diamond Momentum Harness
Another must-have on a via ferrata route is a climbing harness. A harness works as an anchor point for your via ferrata lanyard. Make sure to try it on first before your trip to ensure it fits snugly without limiting your movements. Aim for a lightweight harness, that will be comfy to wear between the cable-protected sections when you are hiking.
Edelrid, Camp or Black Diamond Via Ferrata Lanyard
A via ferrata lanyard connects the climber and their harness to the cables along the route. Its two arms and a hidden extra coil work as an energy absorption system in case of a fall, by reducing the stress on the climber. The two carabiners at the end of the lanyard are used to clip into the cable. Make sure the carabiners are equipped with the palm squeeze mechanism. It’s the safest and most comfortable.
Black Diamond Crag Gloves
The gloves are meant to protect your hands from any cuts and scratches you may otherwise get if you haul yourself on the cable without them. Personally, I prefer full-fingered gloves for extra protection against blisters.
Reeloq Smartphone Securing System
If you want to be able to take great photos on a via ferrata and not worry about losing your phone, Reeloq is the best tool for it. It’s a smartphone securing system, that will allow you to use your phone on any of your adventures. This has been a great addition to my tool arsenal. When you order Reeloq through my link you will receive 10% discount.
Shop on: REELOQ (Europe only)
Hut-to-hut Packing List Group 7: Electronics
How much electronic equipment you decide to include on your hut-to-hut packing list is entirely up to you. As a photographer and a blogger, I carry quite a bit of camera equipment with me, but if you are trekking only, then I recommend that you take only the bare essentials. Here is what I take:
- Camera + lenses + SD Cards + spare battery – my current set-up is the Nikon Z6II with the 24-70mm/f4 kit lens and the Nikkor 35mm/f1.8 prime lens. A while back I made a decision to keep my lens arsenal down to a minimum as I don’t enjoy hiking with a heavy backpack.
- Peak Design camera clip – a must-have if you want to carry your camera safely and comfortably. The clip attaches to the backpack strap and the mounting plate to the camera. It’s a very convenient way to be able to access your camera really quickly without having to store it away each time after taking a shot. You can see me wearing my camera attached to my backpack strap in the photo above.
- Phone – if you want to keep in touch with your family and friends. A lot of the huts in the Dolomites do have phone reception. Don’t forget to keep it in flight mode when not using it to keep the batteries running for as long as possible.
- Small Tripod (optional) – I have two Sirui tripods, but I take the smaller one – Sirui Mini Tripod AM-223 on my backpacking trips. It weighs only 700 grams (1.6 pounds) and the tripod’s ball head also works with the Peak Design mounting plate.
- InReach Mini GPS device (optional) – this is a great device for anyone who hikes solo. A great investment into your own safety. Remember to carry it attached by a carabiner to the outside of your backpack to ensure quick and easy access
- Camera and phone charging cables and a European plug – Hopefully all your devices charge via USB or USB-C. That way you can take only one European adapter plug with you and attach different charging cables for different devices.
Hut-to-hut Packing List Group 8: Miscellaneous & Optional
- Ear plugs – To help with your sanity if your bunk buddy is an incessant snorer.
- Play cards – for nighttime entertainment. Sometimes cards and other games are available at the huts. These multipurpose Basecamp cards with questions on their backside, double as a great conversation starter.
- Ebook reader – for whoever loves to read. You can also have your trekking guide on it! I have the Kindle Paperwhite and love the built-in light, which allows me to read books in bed without disturbing my bunk buddies in the hut’s dorms.
Do you have any questions or suggestions about my list? Drop them in the comments below. I answer all comments personally! Make sure to download the checklist and use it for packing for your next hut-to-hut adventure in the Alps!
More travel and hiking resources in the Dolomites
- Photography spots in the Italian Dolomites
- Via ferratas in the Italian Dolomites
- Day hikes in the Italian Dolomites
- Hut-to-hut treks in the Italian Dolomites